Friday, May 27, 2011

just another red chihuahua

Before my daughter Finley was born, we placed another little Taiwan dog, which was over a year ago. Life was a bit of a blur for 6 months or so with the chaos of a new baby and a new dog for our family.

For the past 3 weeks we have had a little chihuahua mix named Cher AKA "Chair Bear". Aside from her high pitched bark and her lack of recall, she was wonderful. She was totally silent in her crate all night and house trained! She loved to get outside and run around (on leash), but also to cuddle in our laps.

We almost sent her back after a week or so because she was a bolter. She got out of the house on 3 separate occasions and the last time I almost didn't get her back. Instead of giving her back, we decide to do some intensive recall training. We worked on it daily for awhile. After a short time, she would come RUNNING to us from across the house. We also taught her to wait at the front door with success.

The craziest thing about Cher is that she was here for 3 weeks. She was here long than any other foster and she was one of the best we've had (if not the best). It's probably because she isn't especially unique looking. One family came to meet her, said they really liked her and needed to think about it...we never heard back. lovely couple from Port Angeles came with their older golden retriever to meet Cher. We met at the dog park in Edmonds and they loved her!

I am sad to see her go, mainly because I'll miss having a little lap warmer, but also because we are going to get a little 8 month old puppy that isn't house trained at all. Pax (our newish whippet) will be very sad, as they were best friends.

Bye Chair Bear! We will miss you and wish you luck in your new home!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our First Foster Puppy - Scout

After our trip to Mount Rainier for Christmas and a flyball tournament for New Years in Phoenix, we were ready for our next foster dog. A litter of puppies from Taiwan had come in while we were out of town and were in need of foster.

We were given, Scout, the most mature of his littermates. He is such a wonderful puppy! He is not a sports potential at all, but he has plenty of energy and really knows how to calm down in the house. He happily settles down in his puppy pen and chews on a bone or just relaxes. He is quiet in his crate and only had one accident in the house, which was totally our fault.

Puppies really go fast! We have had him for less than one week and he already found his forever family! A lovely mother and daughter that live one block from Greenlake and just adore him. The 9 year old daughter was so excited to meet him and from what Ive heard has been talking about him since she met him yesterday.

So, Scouts long journey from Taiwan is finally over and he is going home tomorrow! He are soo happy for him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gregor finds his forever home!

And it is literally perfect. It I had to describe what I thought would be a perfect home for him, this one would match up exactly. Gregor is a little bit reactive around new dogs especially on leash and when his new family came to meet him we happened to be at a flyball tournament, which is filled with lots of dogs on leashes. He was very overwhelmed and getting a growly with other dogs. We talked a bit about how to deal with this issue and they seemed very comfortable with managing it.

They brought the other three terriers they own....all Cairn terrier mixes. Gregor fit in perfectly with this pack and had a blast running around with the youngest. They were all buddies within just a few minutes. It was almost immediate that they knew he was going to join the pack permanently.

Gregor is going to his new home tonight and after the Holidays we look forward to our next foster dog!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our First Terrier

Well Katie Bell (now just Katie) left on a Saturday morning and later that night a Cairn Terrier mix named Gregor moved in. I was a little bit hesitant because Ive never spent much time with a terrier. Gregor lived in a shelter in Idaho for a long time before he was brought into foster care and at 1.5 years old he has never had a real home. Despite his rough start in life, he is a very happy boy. He loves people and racing around at the park with other dogs.

He came with absolutely no obedience training and no house manners. He learned quickly not to bolt out of his crate and to sit at the back door before being let outside. The thing I learned about terriers is that they dont love to be trained. He often just gets bored or distracted during a training session and wanders off. His adorable little scruffy face makes up for the frustrations I have had with training him though.

Gregor has had three families interested in him. The craziest thing about these three families is that they are all female only households. Gregor must be very attractive to the ladies!

The first couple that met him came over with their terrier mix. They had an unhealthy obsession with making sure that their dog and Gregor played and wrestled immediately after meeting each other. They wanted a dog to entertain the dog they already had! Their dog was not well trained and was generally out of control. The icing on the cake was when Gregor rolled on his back for a belly rub and they saw his male parts. They said "ewww its soooo big". They spend a few minutes studying his parts in awe. Apparently they had never seen a penis before. Did I say that was the icing on the cake? No maybe this was....They wanted to take him for awhile to see how well he did at entertaining their dog and if he didnt work out they wouldnt be willing to keep him until he found a home.

The second couple was much much better. They have a border collie who seems well adjusted, which is saying a lot for this over the top breed living in a pet home. They really liked him and would be a great home for him. He will also be meeting a wonderful potential home this weekend. A veternarian that loves terriers that also happens to be a friend of a friend! It doesnt get much better than that for Gregor! We are crossing our fingers for him and hoping he will make a good impression.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Start In Foster Care

The first thing I will say is that we are obsessed with the dog sport, flyball. We have spend countless hours, thousands of dollars, and collected two additional dogs to keep up with our addiction. But three dogs is not enough and so I spend a good amount of time searching or "surfing" petfinder for a new flyball potential to add to the pack...why not round it out with four?

We are looking for a border collie/terrier mix that is small. I finally saw one that seemed perfect and even though we wanted to wait awhile to get this fourth dog, I figured I would email the rescue organization and get some information on her. It turned out that she was bigger than she looked and would not work for us.

In her email response to me the organizer of the foster organization, desperately asked if I would be willing to take her for a week since her previous foster home could not keep her for one more day. I agreed, thinking that this would be a good way to begin fostering dogs. We were originally thinking about fostering for Border Collie Rescue, but this was a good way to get started right away.

A few days later they brought our first foster dog to our home, Katie Bell, a 10 month old border collie basenji mix or border collie jack russell mix. Katie Bell had more energy than all three of my dogs combined, which is saying a lot because my border collies are pretty high energy. One of the first things Katie Bell did was jump on to our kitchen table to look for food. That was a shock! Our dogs would never do that! We had Katie Bell for about a month and during that time we taught her to sit and stay, not bark at other dogs at the park and to be quiet in her crate. She fit in well with our family for the most part, although her manners were not exactly refined.

Katie Bell was a popular girl and received several applications from people wanting to adopt her. One family had two dogs already both that they adopted this summer. We thought that was a little strange and decided it wouldnt be a good fit. The next family wanted a dog that never barked and was already perfectly trained. Another bad fit. Another person was interested that would have been perfect. She was a dog trainer that loved agility. Unfortunately she already had 6 dogs and her husband drew the line and didnt want to get that seventh dog.

The family that finally adopted Katie Bell was an unlikely home for her. A 72 year old woman and her grown daughter had just lost a border collie and wanted a new puppy. We were very hesitant because of her age and Katie Bells exuberance. After several long conversations trying to convince her that Katie Bell was not for her she finally said "If you dont let me adopt her I will go out and get a border collie puppy". We knew then that she was determined to not get a lap dog and her age does not mean that she cannot handle an active dog.

Here is the first email I received after Katie Bell went to her new home"

"Well, we just got home from quite a few places and Katie was a star. We took her to Issaquah Creek and she loved it. Drank water and smelled and walked all over. We went to Petsmart and got her started on supplies. We took her where whe could interact with other dogs and again, just a star! We couldn't be more pleased. She is a bolter though. Ha!"

Our first foster story was a success (at least so far). Despite the challenges of bringing a new dog into our house it was a great experience. The feeling of helping a dog in need become more adoptable and then seeing them go to a forever home makes it all worth it.